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Misuse of Mobile Phones by Students and Its Impact on Their Academic Performance

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In our society today, the use of technology is seen nearly everywhere and as years go on this technology continues to develop farther. Just when you think something cannot possibly be made more useful, that is when something new is developed. The advances that technology has made over the years is astounding and let’s face it, it has made life a little easier for all of us in some aspect of our lives. Mobile phones and computers are a big technological source that consumes many people’s lives today. Mobile phones are used daily by most people and they consume our lives in all the fun things they offer.

A number of studies have been conducted on college aged students to determine if mobile phone use inside the classroom had an effect on academic performance. Growing up in the newer generations, it was not uncommon for teachers to not allow students to use mobile phones or computers inside the classroom, as many felt they were not useful for academics. Even now a days it is still not uncommon to hear that from college professors. Some seem to be totally against the use of electronic devices while others are realizing that these devices are a part of our daily lives now and that they may offer some useful tools for students.

The world we live in today runs off technology. It is used nearly everywhere. In our jobs, schools, and just about everywhere else. While technology can be overused and misused, it definitely can make some tasks a little easier. In the seven studies that will be talked about in this paper, it will be interesting to see how exactly technology does affect our academic performance. Technology can be a great resource if used properly by students.

Time Spent on Mobile Phone

In September 2011, Brittany Harman and Toru Sato completed a study that examined whether frequent mobile phone use had any impact on undergraduate students’ academic performance. The study included 118 undergraduate students, that ranged from freshman to seniors. The average age of participants was 20, and both men and women were included in the study (Harman & Sato, 2011). Harman and Sato (2011), distributed an anonymous survey to individual participants that contained a variety of questions. In Harman and Sato’s (2011) survey, participants were asked about grade level, grade point average, how many text/phone calls they make a day, and how many times a day they check their mobile phone. They were also asked if they were comfortable texting while sitting in class (Harman & Sato, 2011). The results indicated that most students were comfortable texting in class and that students send an average of 112 text messages, receive an average of 117, and check their phone an average of 102 times in a single day (Harman & Sato, 2011). Harman and Sato (2011), concluded that the more an individual text, the low his or her grade point average was.

Lepp, Barkley and Karipinski (2015), conducted a study similar to Harman and Sato’s (2011). They wanted to study the relationship between mobile phone use and grade point average, by distributing a survey to 536 undergraduate students from public universities (Lepp, Barkley, Karipenski, 2015). The study included both males and females and each grade level at the universities (Lepp et al., 2015). The survey first asked students to provide demographics and lifestyle information and then asked participants about their daily mobile phone use (Lepp et al., 2015). Lepp, Barkley, and Karipinski (2015), obtained records from each college to determine participants current grade point averages. Findings indicated that the participants averaged approximately 300 minutes a day on their phone and that too much mobile phone use did in fact have a negative effect on participants grade point average (Lepp et al., 2015).

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Similar to the study done by Lepp and his colleagues, Daniel Felisoni and Alexandra Godoi (2018) conducted a study to find the relationship between the average actual time students use their phones and academic performance. The study included 43 students and required each student to download an app on their mobile phone that kept track of the exact amount of time each participant spent on his or her phone over a 2-week period (Godoi & Felisoni, 2018). Godoi and Felisoni (2018), divided the sample into 2 subgroups, if participants averaged more than 300 minutes per day on their mobile phones they were considered ‘heavy users’ and if they averaged less than 300 minutes per day they were considered ‘light users’. Of the 43 participants in the study, 35 of them were labeled as heavy users and only 8 were considered light users (Godoi & Felisoni, 2018). The average mobile phone use was 230 minutes, with 396.5 being the most and 38.4 was the least (Godoi & Felisoni, 2018). Results indicated that each 100 minutes spent on your phone per day caused a reduction in class rank by 6.3 points and that usage during class time only had twice the effect on student performance (Godoi & Felisoni, 2018).

In another study conducted by Lepp, Barkley, and Karpinski (2014), they looked to see the relationship between total mobile phone use and texting on a students’ academic performance, much like Godoi and Felisoni’s (2018) study about actual time spent on a mobile phone. A total of 536 undergraduate students, both male and female were involved in the study, and took a survey consisting of 4 different sections (Lepp et al., 2014). The first section was demographic information, the second was satisfaction with life, the third anxiety, and the fourth about mobile phone/texting use (Lepp et al., 2013). Lepp, Barkley, and Karpinski (2014) also obtained cumulative grade point averages for each participant through the universities. Results found that mobile phone use was negatively related to grade point average, but positive for anxiety (Lepp et al., 2014). Results also showed that grade point average was better for people who were satisfied with their life, while anxiety was negatively related (Lepp et al. 2014).

Multitasking on Different Media Platforms

In this study, conducted by Junco and Cotten (2011), they took things a step farther compared to the other studies, in which they went beyond texting and included other social platforms. They study included a whopping 1,774 participants across public college campuses and it included the participants to complete a survey (Junco & Cotten, 2011). Students were asked to estimate the average time they spend searching information online, on Facebook, email, texting, and talking on their mobile phones (Junco & Cotten, 2011). The study found that when doing schoolwork, 51% of participants reported texting, 33% reported using Facebook, 21% reported emailing, and 16% reported searching information unrelated to schoolwork (Junco & Cotten, 2011). While doing schoolwork, Junco and Cotten (2011) also found that students spend an average of 60 minutes on Facebook, 43 minutes searching, 22 minutes on email, and sending an average of 71 text messages. Overall, it was shown that using Facebook and texting negatively affected students grade point average more so than the other social platforms (Junco & Cotten, 2011).

In Class Use

Much like the study conducted by Junco and Cotten (2011), Foese, Carpenter, Inman, Schooley, Barnes, Brecht, and Chacon, 2012) took their study a step farther as well by not only looking at how texting effects academic performance, but how it effects it when you are actually answering and not answering questions. 82 students were randomly selected and 40 agreed to participate, both men and women (Foese et al., 2012). Each participant was given the same 10 questions twice, once while texting and once not texting (Foese et al., 2012). The results concluded that quiz scored were significantly lower when students texted and much higher when they were not texting, the difference was approximately 27% (Foese et al., 2012).

Similar to 2012 study of Foese and his colleagues, Bjornsen and Archer (2015), conducted a study to find the relationship between daily in class mobile phone use and test grades. The study took place over 2 semesters, it included 6 different courses and 218 participants, the participants were all 4 grade levels, both male and female (Bjornsen & Archer, 2015). Participants completed a short questionnaire at the end of each class period where they indicated how many times, they used their phone during the class period (Bjornsen & Archer, 2015). All the students took test at equal intervals throughout the 2 semesters and all were worth 100 points (Bjornsen & Archer, 2015). By the end of their study, Bjornsen and Archer (2015), were able to conclude that lower test scores were associated with higher social media use during class.


In summary, all the studies found that the use of mobile phones by students does negatively affect one’s grade point average. Many people won’t find these results surprising, but it was interesting to compare different studies to see if one could have found that mobile phone use did not affect grade point average. Most of these studies focused on mobile phone use for none academic purposes, therefore the findings shouldn’t be surprising, however had at least one person conducted a study around using a mobile phone for academic purposes, it could be surprising what the results might show. Overall, students misuse technology inside the classroom, use them for the wrong reasons, and if they actually used resources more wisely, researchers may find that technology use in regard to school work may have a different result.


  1. Bjornsen, C. A., & Archer, K. J. (2015). Relations Between College Students’ Cell Phone Use During Class and Grades. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1(4), 326-336. doi:10.1037/stl0000045.
  2. Felisoni, D. D., & Godoi, A. S. (2018). Cell Phone Usage and Academic Performance: An Experiment. Computers & Education, 117, 175-187. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2017.10.006.
  3. Foese, A. D., Carpenter, C. N., Inman, D. A., Schooley, J. R., Barnes, R. R., Brecht, P. W., & Chacon, J. D. (2012). Effects of Classroom Cell Phone Use on Expected and Actual Learning. Ebscohost, 46(2), 323-332.
  4. Harman, B. A., & Sato, T. (2011). Cell Phone Use and Grade Point Average Among Undergraduate University Students. Ebscohost, 45(3), 544-549.
  5. Junco, R., & Cotten, S. R. (2012). No A 4 U: The Relationship Between Multitasking and Academic Performance. Computers & Education, 59(2), 505-514. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.12.023.
  6. Lepp, A., Barkley, J. E., & Karpinski, A. C. (2014). The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use, Academic Performance, Anxiety and Satisfaction with Life in College Students. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 343-350. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.10.049.
  7. Lepp, A., Barkley, J. E., & Karpinski, A. C. (2015). The Relationship Between Cell Phone Use and Academic Performance in a Sample of U.S. College Students. SAGE Open, 5(1), 215824401557316.

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Misuse of Mobile Phones by Students and Its Impact on Their Academic Performance. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Misuse of Mobile Phones by Students and Its Impact on Their Academic Performance.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
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